This Glossy Life With Inès De La Fressange

Model, designer and author INÈS DE LA FRESSANGE talks SHOPPING ADVICE, style essentials and DÉCOR RULES …


The pin-up for fashionistas globally, no one epitomises nonchalant French chic more than the charismatic and aristocratic Inès de la Fressange, who first rose to fame in the 1980s as the face of Chanel and muse to Karl Lagerfeld. Since then, she has been a creative consultant for Roger Vivier, as well as designer of highly successful collaborations for Uniqlo and the author of several books on Parisian style. She has her own brand and opened a boutique in Paris in 2015. She is 59.

MY CV I’m French (nobody is perfect), have worked in fashion since dinosaurs were alive, went to a school called Chanel, had a teacher called Lagerfeld (but I don’t speak German), learned English in Portlaoise (but never went to prison), am known to be elegant (but I still never know how to dress up in the morning!). ON BEING A MUSE “Muse” is rather an amusing word … Let’s say, I participated in the relaunching of two marvellous brands; Chanel and Roger Vivier. Nowadays, no one can remember how much Chanel had been forgotten in the 1980s; at that time it  had only one shop in the world! It’s exciting to explain to everyone how great the brands are, so long as you believe it … MY TARGET   is to help all kinds of people to look better and, above all, feel better. Actually, I start by designing clothes for me – I imagine that women’s wishes are not that different from mine. That’s why I wrote my new look book because, more or less, we all have the same clothes at home (jeans, sweatshirts, sneakers …) and often have a lack of imagination in the early morning when we have to get dressed. MY MUSE let’s say Jane Birkin. Over the decades her look has been consistent, even if you see pictures from the 1970s, the looks are still wearable. She is chic but casual and every generation loves her. STYLE ESSENTIALS A pair of white jeans, a navy blue sweater, and a pair of Roger Vivier shoes and I can go everywhere. SHOPPING ADVICE Today one can find great clothes everywhere, at Uniqlo for instance, or vintage shops, but for good shoes one has to spend a little (except if they are sandals, espadrilles, or sneakers). If there is nothing left for a bag, a basket is great and far better then a fake brand bag. ON AGEING Foundation and mascara seem essential for me. Ageing is boring but if you don’t try to look like you are in your 20s, and don’t put on too much glossy red lipstick or thick make-up, you will look fine. Laugh a lot: people won’t see your wrinkles as much and it’s much better than plastic surgery. DÉCOR RULES The rules should be the same: having less. At home, especially in our wardrobes, we should give a lot of what we have to needy people; throw things away and clean up. Just like a woman wearing too many jewels together, we should try to go for minimalist decoration. I know this is wishful thinking. WORK STYLE The brand Inès de la Fressange Paris is starting to be successful and now I am designing a men’s collection for Uniqlo too. Inspiration is easy, just seeing fabric gives me a million ideas; what is hard is the editing. ON HER NEW BOOK For this project I worked with Sophie Gachet, who is Swiss, precise, logical, a workaholic and blonde. Usually my advice would be: “don’t work with a friend” but in this case I must say it’s been proven wrong. We manage to laugh and work, we agree but are complementary. Even if Switzerland doesn’t belong to Europe! ME TIME Relaxation for me is losing time; it seems essential for my own balance. Looking at Instagram, a siesta on the weekends, walking instead of taking an Über. ON MY RADAR I only ever think about holidays; I would love to go back to India (but never find anybody who wants to come with me), I am supposed to organise a party for my youngest daughter’s 18th birthday, write my newsletter (, drink more water per day … Like every woman: too many things to do in not enough hours!

Parisian Chic Look Book, What Should I Wear Today (Flammarion) by Inès de la Fressange and Sophie Gachet is out now.

Penny McCormick

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